Love is a budding young star who is years from his prime. The defending rebounding champion, last year's Most Improved Player of the Year and he's coming off his first (of hopefully many) All-Star appearances.
The deadline for Minnesota to sign him to an extension is January 25th. If they're unable to come to an agreement by then, Love will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2012. Being a restricted free agent, he'll be able to sign a qualifying offer with another team. The Timberwolves will then have a period of time to match that offer or let him sign elsewhere. Alternatively, Love can accept a one-year deal with Minnesota to return for the 2012-13 season. That would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent the following summer--summer 2013. Meaning he could sign anywhere without "restriction".
This offseason saw three big men handed "insanely bloated contracts". Memphis' Marc Gasol, New York's Tyson Chandler & Denver's Nene Hilario all nabbed offers that will pay them between $13M & $14M over the next 4-5 years. Sure, centers are going to be paid more if they're even remotely "skilled".
So, the question remains: Does Kevin Love deserve a maximum contract extension? Kevin Love would likely garner an offer that would pay him between $82-$95M over the next five years. Is he worth it? In my opinion: Just pay the man already! He's a young player, he's still not in his prime, he's likely to go down as one of the greatest rebounders ever (if he continues on the pace, he's on), he's an all-star (likely to make many more appearances).
The biggest thing is the success of Minnesota the next two seasons. He'll be with Minnesota until at least 2013 and that means that the Timberwolves need to show some drastic improvement if they want to keep Love. Like any player, he wants to win a championship--if he doesn't feel he can do that in Minnesota--he'll move on!
David Kahn has said that he won't discuss any contract negotiations with Love's agent publicly, other than to call the matter "very important". He also says he expects Love will play for the Wolves for "many, many" years.
Following Wednesday's game in Milwaukee, Love was asked about if he's decided to seek a maximum contract, Love said, "Not really. I'm still thinking things through. It's just going to depend on what they think is right and what me and my agent decide as well. We'll look at the scenarios."
When Rick Adelman accepted the head coaching job in September, it was partially to do with his relationship with Kevin Love--which dates back to Kevin's high school days when Adelman's son and him played on the same team. "When I talked to them about this job, the understanding was we'll all sit down and we're going to talk about where we go with it," Adelman said. "He's a key part of this team. Obviously he's come to camp in very, very good shape. That decision really comes down to (owner) Glen (Taylor). He's the one who has to pay the salary and make that kind of commitment. But, certainly we'll give our input on where we think we are with him. I don't know the economics of it all. I probably won't get involved in that, but I will give my opinion on where I think he stands with the team now and in the future."
Love has shown early (this preseason) that he's dominant, a leader and wants to win...NOW! In two preseason games against Milwaukee, Love tallied 43pts, 31rebs, 7ast, 1stl, 1blk, 14-for-23 from the field (61%), 6-for-11 from three (55%) and 14-for-17 from the line (82%) in 54 minutes of preseason action. Which in the second game included two minutes in the fourth quarter that he scored 10 straight points that were capped by two free throws from Michael Beasley to give the Wolves the win by one-point!
Kevin Love is the face of the franchise. Whether analysts believe he can be or not, HE IS! Most say he's a third-best player on a championship-contender. With all the young talent on Minnesota's roster--and he still averages over 20pts & 15rebs, he can be a franchise player!
That's all for now. Within the next few days I'll have a gameday preview for the regular season opener vs. Oklahoma City at the Target Center on Dec. 26th. Look for that soon, until then, have a Happy Holidays, thanks for reading and GO WOLVES!